Our plan on this warm, sunny morning was to visit Alvor by bus. It’s less than 30 minutes away from Lagos but buses are infrequent so we decided to enjoy a morning sauna before heading to the bus station for the 12.00 noon service. Buses to Alvor are on comfortable express coaches run by Eva and tickets need to be purchased from the station kiosk before departing. Eva fares are considerably more expensive than the local bus company we used along the scenic coast earlier in the week with an adult return costing €8.20.
Our coach was heading for Albufeira and Alvor was its first stop, dropping passengers at a roundabout on the edge of the village. A narrow cobbled lane lined with small shops and cafes leads along to the village centre ending with a steep downhill section towards the harbour. Views across the sheltered harbour were beautiful, the harbour appearing to be emerald green in the bright autumn sunlight. The small town is located on the banks of the Odiaxere river with traditional small white washed cottages clinging to the hillside above.
Strolling along the attractive seafront in an easterly direction we came across numerous stylish seafood restaurants and beach bars. Alvor, as well as being a tourist town is still an active fishing village with many small colourful fishing boats bobbing about in the harbour. Piles of nets, oyster and clam baskets were drying out in the sunshine ready to be used again to bring in some freshly caught seafood for the nearby restaurants.
Just beyond the fishermen’s huts is the start of the 3.2 mile Alvor Boardwalk and estuary loop trail. The boardwalk is well maintained and suitable for wheelchairs, prams and cyclists. Following its winding course alongside the fishing boats in the small harbour, the path follows the coast, meandering through wetlands and shallow lagoons. It’s a haven for wildlife especially in Spring and Autumn with migratory birds and we spotted some waders and terns.
Reaching the far end of the boardwalk where the lagoon meets the Atlantic Ocean there is a large sandy beach which was very quiet today except for a couple of kite surfers. Continuing along the loop, the elevated boardwalk crossed sand dunes and mud flats of the Ria de Alvor Nature Reserve before re-joining the path back to the charming small harbour.
Having enjoyed our walk, we were ready for some lunch and here in Alvor we were spoilt for choice with so many attractive cafes to choose from. Settling on one, we sat out on the sunny terrace to eat our lunch and spend a short time reading the newspapers.
Continuing our seafront walk, we strolled along the western bay towards the Roche Delicado, an ochre promontory of weather worn cliffs. This side of the bay, away from the beach bars and cafes, was deserted and we had this part of the promenade to ourselves. Walking back up the steep hill on our way back, we caught the bus from the same bay as the one where we arrived and less than 30 minutes later we were back in Lagos. I’d definitely recommend a visit to Alvor, it’s a charming, prosperous small town and one that hasn’t overly suffered from tourism. It’s probably crowded in July and August with the narrow streets thronged with people, but off season it’s just perfect.
A rest followed and then a walk along the marina in Lagos followed by an evening meal in a local pizzeria.